Quit Line Caller Pays It Forward

Carolyn Slater
Carolyn Slater

When Carolyn Slater started smoking, she didn’t think much of it. Thirty-eight years later, she didn’t think she would ever be able to quit.

“I started smoking before there were warning labels or anybody took it seriously,” she said. “I was following in the footsteps of nearly everyone I knew. I even married a smoker.”

Slater had tried to quit before, many times, but failed attempt after failed attempt made her think that she would never be able to do it.

“I gave up. Nothing had ever stuck, so I thought, why even try?”

It wasn’t until Slater got a call from someone close to her that everything changed.

“I knew something was wrong right away. He asked me if I was sitting down, there was something I needed to hear. I didn’t know what to expect, but when he told me he had stage four lung cancer, I couldn’t believe it.

“The day after, I took him to a doctor’s appointment. Watching (him) tear up every time we hit a pothole made me realize just how bad things could get. That was the day I decided to never smoke again.”

That was when Slater called the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line and, with their help, she was able to take the first steps to being smoke free for good.

“At first, I felt kind of stupid, but the person I talked to at the Quit Line had a good sense of what I was going through and what I needed,” she said, “They met me where I was at. And the medication—nicotine patches and lozenges—helped a lot too. I eventually phased them out of my life but, at the time, the resources from the Quit Line were great.”

Since quitting, Carolyn has gotten to enjoy a newfound peace of mind that she hopes all smokers can one day enjoy. Through her work as a clinic coordinator, she’s bringing that peace to unhoused patients in her area.

“My husband and I have been smoke-free since using the Quit Line, and we just want to let anyone trying to quit or even just thinking about quitting know that, as impossible as you think it is, it’s not. If I can do it, you can too.

“It’s not impossible.”